Climate Shocks, Adaptation, and Well-Being in Ghana: A Mixed Methods Study

The research paper adopts a mixed methods approach to understanding climate shock and consequences in the Ghanaian context. The nationally representative Ghana Living Standards Household Survey (GLSS) is merged with district-level geocoded information on climate events to quantitatively explore associations between climate shocks and farm inputs demand. Results show commercial purchases of inputs as a potential coping strategy among agricultural households. The remainder of the paper uses qualitative methods to better understand other adaptation strategies. Interviews with women shine more light on their housework adjustments and implications for leisure. Adaptation is, however, not a universal response to climate change and disaster events. Despite observed mental health associations, the paper highlights the role of religion in passive dispositions when it is believed that disaster events are divine and do not merit an adaptation response. The study improves understanding of individuals’ adaptation, and non-adaptation, responses to climate shocks in Ghana.

From the paper:

Adaptation is not a universal response to climate shocks, and while a lot of studies are geared towards building adaptive capacity of households, particularly in developing country settings, more recognition should be given to cultural and religious factors that may significantly mitigate responses. In this paper, agricultural households adapted by increasing their input demand when disaster events occur, and women adapted by changing their domestic work hours and reducing their sleep durations. In other cases, religious individuals, believing that disaster events are divine and should not necessitate responses, adopted more passive dispositions. The effects of climate change are, however, undeniable, and using a mixed-methods approach, the research indicates that heat stress, loss of employment opportunities, and forced migration are important channels through which climate shocks affected the mental health and well-being of Ghanaians.

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